Softball: Tinley Park adds to collection
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org May 28, 2014 8:14PM
Updated: June 30, 2014 12:39PM
Tinley Park coach Wendy Podbielniak is running out of reasons to walk her players through the main gym before the start of the season.
It’s been a tradition dating to 2010, when after getting the job as coach she stood her team in front of the softball banner and asked them what was wrong with it.
“Some of them said it was crooked and one of them said it was old,” Podbielniak said with a laugh. “This little freshman kid said, ‘Coach, there’s only one thing (a regional title) on it.’ I said, ‘Exactly. I can teach you what you need to know to change that, but you guys have to dedicate yourselves to what it will take.’ ”
The Titans won their second regional title that season and in 2012 upset Marian Catholic to claim a third regional crown. A trip to state and a third-place finish in Class 3A was added in 2013. In 2014, the Titans went 17-2 and put another line on the banner as a first-time conference champion.
“That group five years ago started something amazing and the girls just continue to pass it down to one another,” Podbielniak said. “The kids in the program today understand what was established and they respect the tradition.
“They know our work is not finished yet and they are working harder and harder every year to climb the milestones and continue to make school history.”
An influx of transfers next year from Mount Assisi should help Queen of Peace improve on a 7-16 record in 2013. This year’s team, however, also gave them something to defend.
The Pride swept through the GCAC White Tournament field with a 3-0 record, capturing the title May 17 with a 15-4 win over Gordon Tech behind a four-RBI day by Caitlin Fitzgerald.
“Our team spent the entire spring with the goal of finishing strong and working to win our games at the end of the season,” Peace coach Erin Sullivan said. “To go on a three-game win streak and win the championship was a testament to how hard the players worked and our new commitment to athletics.”
Meanwhile, on 99th Street ...
Mother McAuley ended its league season on a high note by beating Trinity 8-2 in the GCAC Red title game behind Holly Marousek (6-hitter, 6 strikeouts) and Morgan Fleming (3-for-4, 2 doubles, 3 RBI).
“It was a great day,” McAuley coach Colleen Kilduff said. “We had been in the championship with Trinity last year and came up short, so this year the girls made sure they played a solid game and got the job done.”
Player of the Week
Kendal Judge, of Providence, is the SouthtownStar Softball Player of the Week.
Judge, a sophomore pitcher, struck out 13 and tossed a one-hit shutout to lead the Celtics past Lincoln-Way West 5-0.